This morning, the snow is fine glitter resting in the crevices and dips of the frozen earth. Two mourning doves sit in the walnut tree, feathery puffs hunched in on themselves. My boys have a snow day—an extended holiday—so we make French toast for breakfast and listen to Drew Holcomb on Pandora. I dance in front of the stove as I hover over a sizzling skillet. “This is a good song to make French toast to,” I say, waving the spatula in the air like a conductor’s baton. “Whatever you think,” the 16 year-old says in bored tones, his mouth full of bacon.
Outside, the sky seems bluer—what for all the white—and inside my heart feels a fine dwelling place, a safe place for these two I love beyond measure.
A couple nights ago I awakened in a panic, a web of dreams closing in on me—fears of all we are doing wrong in the parenting of these two boys we’ve been entrusted with. I lay still in the dark, thoughts stabbing into my lungs, making it difficult to breathe. I prayed scripture aloud, grasped around for assurance in my mind, until my fists opened slowly under the blankets, and—palms up, I drifted back to sleep.
This morning, these two experiences rest in my heart in precarious balance. I am thinking about a book I read a couple years ago, and a quote that keeps returning.
…If there is one thing developmental psychologists have learned over the years, it is that parents don’t have to be brilliant psychologists to succeed. They don’t have to be supremely gifted teachers…parents just have to be good enough. They have to provide their kids with stable and predictable rhythms. They need to be able to fall in tune with their kids’ needs, combining warmth and discipline. They need to establish the secure emotional bonds that kids can fall back upon in the face of stress. They need to be there to provide living examples of how to cope with the problems of the world so that their children can develop unconscious models in their heads.—David Brooks, The Social Animal